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What you need to know before you sign a lease

What you need to know before you sign a lease

Junior Tanvi Saran had an off-campus lease at the start of the year. But once UNC shifted classes online, de-densified campus housing and consolidated the remaining residence halls, Saran and many other students were left to find other students to sublease so they could return home.

After subleasing to other students looking for housing, Saran returned home to Oklahoma. But that process wasn’t easy. Finding a new place and signing the lease for it within a short amount of time can be a stressful process and it can be difficult for the renter to know what they’re getting with all the rush.

If you find yourself in this position, here are three key aspects of a lease to look at before signing so you know exactly what to expect from your new home.

Additional Fees

Aside from the monthly rent, it’s important to know what other fees and payments are listed on the lease. These additional fees can include repairs, trash fees, pest control fees and pet rent. Depending on the terms in the lease, you may also be required to have renter’s insurance and set up utilities in your name, both of which could significantly increase the cost of off-campus living.

Renter’s insurance was a requirement of Saran’s lease.

“We had to get renter’s insurance as a part of our lease and I think that shows responsibility on the landlord’s part,” she said. “The people that were running the lease were very organized, which made me feel a lot better about leasing to them.”

The listings on include the fees that potential tenants might need to pay.

 Amenities and other provisions

Looking closely for the amenities that come with the lease is key. That way you know what to expect when moving in, what is being provided to you and what you need to arrange externally. The amenities may differ depending on whether the location is in a neighborhood or within an apartment complex. Some common amenities are laundry machines, a fitness center or pool and parking spaces.

“Obviously, it was important to know what they were taking care of versus what I was taking care, so utilities and whether or not they were dealing with trash and the lawn,” Saran said.

For other provisions like allowing pets and visitors indoors, properties have different policies which should be outlined on the lease. For example, one landlord or company might not allow pets at all, while others will have a process to get a pet approved. listings have descriptions and features listed which tell those interested about the different amenities and facilities available at each location.

Important dates

Lastly, making note of due dates for payments and form submissions is crucial for the leasing to go through as smoothly as possible. Many landlords will have an application and guarantor process prior to officially signing a lease and paying a security deposit. 

The listings on have details about the availability date for each location, which allows you to structure the leasing process around the specific date.

“They’ve got it all consolidated into one spot,” said Saran, who signed a lease for the first time this year. “That’s really nice. If I knew about this, I’d have used it.” also has a list of resources about utilities, transportation and more for potential tenants. You can also consult this relocation guide to learn more about and connect with the local community.



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